Dudley Moore received his only Oscar nomination for portraying millionaire playboy Arthur Bach in Arthur.
Arthur is a character that Moore seems perfectly suited for and he is perfectly suited for. He instantly finds the right manner in which to play Arthur, and never once seems to be trying in this performance despite some of what he has to do in it, which is to play drunk very often. Now playing drunk can be tricky since it can be over the top or not funny. Moore is neither of these things amazingly, and gives a truly memorable and brilliant drunk performance. He finds exactly the right motions and slurred speech that simply makes Arthur's drunkenness incredibly endearing. Arthur is simply one of the most memorable movie drunks and this is absolutely because of Dudley Moore.
Moore when his is not drunk is just as good though. He is always consistently entertaining, funny, and charming throughout the film. He is always fun to watch in this performance, and every chance he gets Moore extracts the right amount of humor from his scenes. He never has a single dull moment and he is simply completely charming in this film every moment. His performance is just a comedic and romantic performance. He excels romantically well with Liza Minelli, and the two play off of each other exceedingly well. They show that these two are completely right for each other, and together they make Arthur's willing to lose his bachelor status completely believable.
His funniest and most effective scenes though may come from his scenes with John Gielgud as Hobson. These two are terrific as they trade sly comment, and they again make perfect moments together. Their best moment though might be their final moments, in which Hobson and Arthur show how much they mean to won another in their father and son like relationship. Moore here gives an incredibly tender performance here with a lot of heart, that perfectly goes with the comedy of all his other scenes. A simply great leading romantic comedy performance from Dudley Moore, and he does not make it nearly as simple as a performance like this could have been. Instead Moore makes Arthur and incredibly funny, and simply memorable character.